What is a startup?

Our Startup community is very passionate about helping each other and we love to hear stories of someone creating another international success from New Zealand.

But people are still confused about what we mean by a "startup".  They hear the term in different contexts from local small businesses to tech companies.  Even companies with 20 or more staff seem to want to use the label. 

So what is a Startup?

I spent a bit of time on the Google and found definitions from Wikipedia, Steve Blank, Quora and Fortune magazine which had the following common threads, that a startup is;

- Focused on scalability
- Aiming for revenue growth over profit
- Trying something new and innovative
- Searching for a sustainable business model
- After a big opportunity
- Driven by passion to take on new things in an uncertain world

Don't like reading, watch this instead.

Steve Blank’s three-minute definition is also a good short video that provides additional context and background to his views.

Opportunity size and ambition

So it all comes down to 2 main things; opportunity size and ambition. A startup goes after a large market opportunity with confidence and determination even when there is significant uncertainty.

The diagram below from StartupCommons.org is an good way to visualise these startup dimensions.

 Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startup_company

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startup_company

Startup Weekend Christchurch 2018 Wrap Up

Congratulations to everyone who helped to make the 6th Startup Weekend in Christchurch a reality.  Thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, mentors, supporters and attendees.  The event was held on the weekend of 4th - 6th of May 2018 at GreenHouse in the Innovation Precinct.


Seven teams competed at the finale held at Vodafone Xone on Sunday 6th May 2018.  The winning teams were; 1st Find The Gap, 2nd FitWick, and 3rd After Pass. 

 Final presentations @ Vodafone xone

Final presentations @ Vodafone xone

 Winning team: Find The Gap

Winning team: Find The Gap

Find The Gap (Winner)

1. FindTheGap_Logo_v2_black_300dpi.png

Find The Gap helps match people looking for a last minute hair and beauty treatment with available "gaps" in salon schedules.

George, Hai, Jacob, James, Sean, Stephen, Udit.

FitWick (2nd place)


FitWick solves the problem of smelly gym clothes by providing a daily laundry service for gym goers.

Team: Carl, Jason, Kate, Ahsan, Milena, Nathan, Rima

After Pass (3rd Place)

AfterPass resizedbluelogo.png

After Pass provides the most advanced security for cryptocurrency keys to ensure your most valuable digital assets.

Team: Amr, Benedikt, James, Jamie, Joel, Julia, Kaushik, Stephan.



EntreKid$ is creating a board game to help teachers and parents to educate young people about entrepreneurship.

Team: Grace, Hamidreza, Keren, Peter, Serena



Eventist is creating heroes out of organisers of corporate social events.

Team: Duncan, Owen, Raj, Safe, Tracy.

PanicAttack (Safer)


PanicAttack's Safer product provides law enforcement and emergency services with location data and live video.

Team: Chris, Edwin, Henry, Peiyi, Rama, Taurus.



ShareMyRide is a carpooling application that is powerful but simple to use.

Team: Guillaume, Helen, Kade, Kyle, Max, Srinath


Thanks to sponsors; Christ's College, GreenHouse, UC Centre for Entrepreneurship, ChristchurchNZ, Grant Thornton, Sourced, iwantmyname, and Ministry of Awesome.

Sponsor banner SWChch2018.png

ChristchurchNZ appoints new senior leadership team


The city’s promotion and economic development agency ChristchurchNZ has appointed its new senior leadership team.

An extensive internal and external search has been carried out in recent weeks, with a huge amount of interest from all over the country, internationally and internally in the six newly created roles.

The appointments are as follows:

Richard Sandford, GM of Innovation and Business Growth
Richard Sandford, who is currently Spark’s General Manager Customer and Marketing, will start in early July. He has previously held roles as GM Media Sales and Online at TVNZ and a range of roles at Nokia in the UK and Asia, including Head of Partner Management and Global Business Manager roles, and senior roles at BskyB in the UK, and SkyTV.

Tim Loftus, GM of Marketing, Brand and Communications
Tim Loftus, who is currently Marketing Manager of Global Brand for Kathmandu where he was responsible for redesigning the business’s global brand strategy into a purpose-driven, consumer oriented brand focused on entry into new international markets, will start in early June.

Loren Heaphy, GM of Destination and Attraction
Loren Heaphy, who is currently the Special Projects Event Development Manager for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, has an extensive background in both destination management and major events. She will start the role in June.

Anna Elphick, GM of Strategy, Policy and Insights
Anna Elphick, who previously worked at Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) in a strategy role, is already in post. CDC was one of the organisations that merged to form ChristchurchNZ in July last year, with the other organisations being Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism, International Education, the Convention Bureau and the Christchurch City Council’s Major Events Team.

Robyn Andrews, GM of Corporate Services
Robyn Andrews, who previously worked CDC as the General Manager of Corporate Services, is already in post. She is also the Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary for the ChristchurchNZ Holdings Group and represents ChristchurchNZ on the boards of New Zealand Food Innovation (South Island) Limited and Canterbury Regional Business Partners Limited.

Spark Ventures Ed Hyde leaves Spark

As part of the leadership restructure at Spark Ed Hyde chief of Spark Ventures is leaving the company.


"Spark Ventures chief Ed Hyde will leave the country's biggest telecommunications company by the end of June, with his unit being integrated into the wider business"

Christmas and Thanks from GBJ Innovation

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. 

In 2017 I was fortunate enough to work with a number of fantastic entrepreneurs, young and old.  Thanks to all of you who had the ambition to give it a go.  You are the ones who make a real difference.  There are too many of you to mention individually and I would hate to miss anyone - you know who you are.

Thanks to everyone within the tech and startup / innovation ecosystem including;
- Ministry of Awesome
- ChristchurchNZ & GreenHouse
- University of Canterbury - EDP, entre & Centre for Entrepreneurship
- Canterbury Tech
- Canterbury Angels
- Startup Weekend & Christchurch Startup Meetup
- Callaghan Innovation & their Regional Business Partners
- Startup Dunedin
- All the fantastic sponsors
- And our exceptional services providers

Canterbury Tech
After 5 years I've recently stepped down from the board of Canterbury Tech.  They are a fantastic group and I remain a member and wish the new committee all the best.  The strength of this group is clearly evident during the recent board elections, with 16 nominees for 3 positions. 

I live in Canterbury in the startup hotspot of Tai Tapu but work with people across the country, focused primarily on the South Island.  Christchurch gets most of my attention but I am a regular in Dunedin which is where my great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother arrived from Glasgow in 1858.

New Year
Working in this space can be exciting but can also be challenging, stressful, and all encompassing.  This is the perfect time of the year to remind ourselves to take some time for ourselves and our families, review where we are at and set goals for the new year.

Looking forward to an exciting 2018, Merry Christmas and have a safe New Year.


Geoff Brsh
Founder, GBJ Innovation

Upcoming events

There are a few events on this week;

Tuesday 26th September

Christchurch: Sales & Marketing Jam ($20)
September 26th 12:30pm
Auditorium, Christchurch Art Gallery, 49 Worcester Blvd Christchurch

UCE Kathmandu NZ Student Social Enterprise Challenge
September 26th 5:30pm
Engineering Core, 48 Creyke Road, Christchurch

Wednesday September 27th

Social Enterprise World Forum, Christchurch
Wednesday - Friday

Women In Tech - Christchurch
September 27th 5:30pm
Aftermath Gallery, 165a Gloucester Street, Christchurch

Thursday September 28th

Relentless Innovation: Spark Venture's Story
Thursday September 28th, 5:30pm
57 Kilmore Street, Christchurch

October 2017

Canterbury Tech - October monthly event
Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Ara – Engineering and Architectural Studies building, Madras st, Christchurch

Christchurch Hackers Conference (CHCon)
CHCon is a conference for security professionals and hackers
Thursday 26th (Training), Friday 27th & Saturday 28th October
 UCSA Events Centre, 90 Ilam Rd, Riccarton, Christchurch

November 2017

Hi-Tech Award Launch - save the date - 29 November 2017


Canterbury Tech Summit 2017

Another fantastic Tech Summit was held in Christchurch on Thursday 14th of September 2017.

Changes in Christchurch Ecosystem

Some significant changes in the Christchurch ecosystem over recent times;

  • CEO, ChristchurchNZ - Tom Hooper to Joanna Norris
  • CAO, Ministry of Awesome - Lauren Merritt to Marian Johnson
  • Head, Vodafone xone - Kevin Park to Lauren Merritt
  • CEO, Canterbury Chamber of Commerce - Peter Townsend to Leanne Watson
  • Chair, Canterbury Angels - Ben Reid - Gerald Carter
  • Client Manager - Technology, ChristchurchNZ - Neil Hamilton while Sheralee MacDonald is on 12 months travel leave.
  • GreenHouse Manager, ChristchurchNZ - Oliviah Theyers-Collins
  • Senior Advisor, Innovation & Commercialisation, ChristchurchNZ - Neil Pattinson

EPIC Tenants Finalists in Champion Canterbury Awards

Three of the tenants at EPIC were recently selected as finalists in the Champion Canterbury Business Awards.

Concentrate and MTech Games are finalists in the Professional Services – small enterprise category, whereas Corvecto is a finalist in the Innovation category.


The Teams of Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017

Congratulations to all who took part in Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017, and a big thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.

May 19 - 21 saw EPIC buzzing with energy at all hours as 120+ participants, mentors, organisers, and volunteers packed out the space to pitch startup ideas and turn them into real businesses, all in the space of a weekend.
Friday night was off to a running start with 54 individuals pitching their startup ideas, teams were formed, and coffee was drunk. The proverbial brown stuff may have hit the fan for many teams throughout Saturday as they engaged with their target market and learnt the dreaded word ‘pivot’.


Ultimately 13 teams delivered the goods at the final pitch battle in front of the public and our esteemed judges, with Binder taking out first place and bragging rights as the winners of Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017.

 Final presentations @ Ara

Final presentations @ Ara

 Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017 Judges

Startup Weekend Christchurch 2017 Judges

Binder NZ (Winner)


Binder is a wedding planning site, that provides everything a couple needs to plan their wedding.  From venue, to photography, budget, and timeline Binder provides the complete wedding planning service.

Team: Daniel, Fionna, Hannah, Henry, Yanwei

Buzz Keeper (2nd place)


Buzz Keeper is a security device built into beehives that enables bee keepers to track stolen beehives and alert them of thefts.

Team: Kirsten, Simon, Ruby, Inder, Stephen, Nicole, Ryan, Michael

Freeze My Glass Off (3rd Place)


Freeze My Glass Off is a car defrosting system that defrosts frozen windscreens during winter months.

Team: Georgia, Peter, Callum, William

Better Kiwi


BetterKiwi helps New Zealanders be less apathetic about choosing the most appropriate KiwiSaver fund for their personal situation.

Team: Glendon, Rikki, Matt, Jason, Stephen

Make My Day!


Make My Day! is a mobile app that lists and recommends activities and nearby businesses to help make your day.

Team: Alex, Kerry, Peiyi, Taner, Margot, Thomas, Anna



TopCrop provides rentable and serviced vertical vegetable gardens for workplaces, contributing to a healthier and more productive workplace.

Team: Duncan, Pali, Stephan, Carl, Chris, James, Robina



Lakuna matches people with things needed to be stored with people that have available space.

Team: Edwin, Nathan, Ashling, Sarah, Ashley, Edwin, Izadora, Simon



Upto is an event promotion platform helping you find the best local activities and events to attend with your friends

Team: Arron, Matthew, James, Ben, Michel, Peter, Cameron, Stephanie

Gap Finder


GapFinder helps local governments connect with their communities to understand what they want for their cities.

Team: Christopher, Ollie, Daniel, Mike, Tony, Dorj, Olivia

Heart Sync


Heart Sync produces a pillow that helps adults sleep and provides anxiety relief by playing the sound of heart beats.

Team: Ged, Leo, Olivia



Helping young people learn about the world and envisage their future using Virtual Reality technology.

Team: Danny, Deborah, Chris, Joe, Sridhar, Alex, Paris, Raj, Daniel, Sakthi

Journey NZ


Journey is an app that lets visitors have a great travel experience, including localised stories, nearby attractions and information on places to eat and where to get petrol.

Team: Carl, Charles, Mitchell, Huey, Jake, Munir, Keryn

Revival of the Craft


Revival of the Craft matches people wanting to learn a craft with a community run workshop.

Team: Timo, Terry, David, Daisuke, Kerry


Startup Weekend’s are truly community events, so we’d love to thank our sponsors who believe in investing into their local community.

Lightning Lab Electric and the Innovation Challenge - Christchurch Event

If you are an innovator in the energy sector, in any area from generation to management and distribution you should attend this event on Feb 24 in Christchurch.

You will hear about the future of energy with US-based energy experts Helen and Dave Edwards and you will meet leading edge electricity innovators Bidgely and Flick Electric who will speak about what it takes to bring a product to market

Check out InnovationChallenge.co.nz for more information and to attend the event get your FREE tickets here https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/chc-lightning-lab-electric-innovation-challenge-tickets-31465482104